Skip to comments.Pope makes Turkish mosque visit ( and nearby Hagia Sophia Museum ) ( former Christian Church ? )
Posted on 11/30/2006 8:40:18 PM PST by george76
Pope Benedict XVI has visited one of Turkey's most famous mosques in what is being seen as an attempt to mend relations with the Muslim community.
During his tour of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the pontiff paused in silent prayer alongside senior Muslim clerics.
It marks only the second papal visit in history to a Muslim place of worship.
Earlier, the Pope visited the nearby Hagia Sophia Museum - a site heavy with Christian and Muslim symbolism - drawing around 150 protesters.
The Pope spent half an hour in Hagia Sophia, a domed complex that was once a Christian centre before becoming a mosque and eventually, a museum.
The BBC's David Willey says the Pope has been performing a delicate balancing act between creating better relations with the Orthodox Church, while also reaching out to Muslims.
The pontiff began Wednesday with a liturgical celebration by the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.
A prime reason for Pope Benedict's visit to Turkey has been to heal the centuries-old rift between the two Churches.
Patriarch Bartholomew and the Pope embraced during the service.
"The divisions which exist among Christians are a scandal to the world," the Pope said after the meeting.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
The year is 1565. On the island of Malta, 600 Knights of St. John, commanding a force of some 8000 men, prepare to defend their island fortress from attack.
These same Catholic Knights had been driven from their previous stronghold, the Isle of Rhodes, in 1522, by the Ottoman Turks. Under Suleyman the Magnificent, the Moslems were pressing hard across Arabia, Syria, Iraq, into Egypt and northern Africa, and had established a strong foothold on the north coast of the Black Sea, the gateway to all of Europe itself. In 1526, the Hungarians had been defeated at the Battle of Mohacs, and only the Austrian Habsburgs now stood in the way of the Moslem advance. Vienna came under attack in 1529, but the Moslems were unable to take the capital, and their over-extended campaign failed.
Now, the Turks had raised a fleet of 181 ships, carrying some 30,000 soldiers, and Malta was the prize they sought. Their goal was to plunder and sweep all the ships of Christian Europe from the Mediterranean. Then, in control of the sea lanes and trade routes, with their naval and economic power supreme, all of Europe would be set to fall before them.
The Turkish fleet appeared off the coast of Malta, and laid siege to the island. All through the summer of 1565 the contest for Malta raged. In the end, the Knights of St. John (Knights of Malta) were victorious, and the Turks were forced to withdraw in defeat. It did not, however, end the threat from the Ottoman Turks.
Paul Harvey stated today that the pope prayed facing Mecca???
I thought that the this Pope did not openly pray in the mosque nor at the "museum."
The previous one apparently did ?
But I may be wrong ?
I'm not sure, just heard this on Paul Harvey this AM, and thought one more step toward the blasphemous one world religion prophesied to take place.
... surely I'm not the only Catholic who finds it difficult to reconcile this image, the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility & JP II's repeated claim that Catholics shouldn't celebrate Communion with other Christians because it might tend to be confusing !?!?
Doubtless 'better' Catholics than I will now flame on.
Hey, and let's not forget that the Pope was more than happy to bow down and pray in the direction of Mecca too with his Muslim hosts.
Hey, what's a few navigational adjustments in the interest of fostering Christian/Islamic "understanding"?
Oops, better make that ISLAMIC/'christian' "understanding".
No, you don't get it. Turkey is NOT officially Muslim. It is officially, and really quite militantly, secular. The government has spent a lot of military effort on keeping Islamists in their place, and even though Islamists win elections, the Turkish Army stands there as a menace against any introduction of formal Islamism.
Hagia Sophia is NOT a mosque anymore.
It's a museum.
The Turks do not let Muslims have religious services there either.
Turkey is actually the brightest spot in the whole Muslim world, because it's the only part that has itself, from within, declared that secularism takes precedence over Islam, and has been quite explicit and militant about that for three-quarters of a century now. It isn't as though the Islamists haven't fought that too. But they haven't won.
If Iraq or Iran became like Turkey, it would be a vast improvement.
Doesn't make any difference which way the Pope prays. If it makes the Muslims happy that he follows their superstitious little custom, well, there's no reason to give offense. There is nothing benighted or evil, in a Christian sense, about the direction of Mecca or any other direction.
This was a spiritually costless gesture from the Christian side.
Thank you for the great pics of Agia Sofia, george, Its funny that the Turks even when they tried to "erase" or whitewash the Churches mosaic symbols they couldn't because of the way the church was build, covered with thousands upon thousands of glittering colorful mosaics. The Christian Icons and symbols kept appearing no matter what. LoL!! hehe...I guess the church is making herself clear..no matter what anyone does to her, she will always reveal her true self. :) In the 17th century the Ottomans even veiled the face of the Virgin Mary in the Church. Unbelievable.
Yea, I get it Turkey is 99% Muslim official or not and that's not kosher in the long or short run for the West.
Grant it, Turkey is not a card carrying member of the Axis of Evil, but jihadist fundamentalism is catching on there as it does in any nation which has a majority Muslim population. It's a spreading cancer infecting the youth of the Islamic world.
Excellent yet alarming historical map.